Joseph and Frances were in their late 70s and thoroughly enjoying retirement and good health, but they also were reminded from personal experience that they wouldn’t live forever. During the past 10 years, the married couple had visited family and friends who were hospitalized for various illnesses, and they had attended more than their fair share of funerals.
Joe had named Franny as his Patient Advocate through a Durable Power of Attorney-Healthcare, and vice versa for Franny, so they knew they were protected for any immediate needs. But Joe was beginning to notice that Franny had become uncertain with her day-to-day decision making. Joe wondered aloud if she could make medical decisions for him if necessary, and he seriously doubted whether she could truly “pull the plug” if he fell into a coma or vegetative state -- which was his wish.
Throughout their 20 years of marriage, Harry and Sally spent much of their time taking care of each other and then their three children as they arrived. But during the last two years, they also had to devote energy to caring for Harry’s father who eventually died from Alzheimer’s disease, and then administering the estate he left to the family.
Harry’s father hadn’t touched his will in 10 years -- even after Harry’s mother died -- so much of the document was outdated. Simple changes such as the addition of Harry and Sally’s third child weren’t made in the will, along with adjustments to the situation with Harry’s sister, who had gone through a divorce.
Young Sarah was distressed that her parents were getting a divorce, and she did everything she could to try to bring them back together, including being on her best behavior – listening to her parents, not fighting with her brother, cleaning her room and doing her chores without being asked.
It soon became clear, however, that the divorce would happen. Sarah thought she would have to make a terribly difficult decision – deciding which parent her and her brother would live with. Since her younger brother was too young to be involved in that decision, she felt the pressure of speaking for both of them.
High school seniors Bob and Jamie dated for a few months and broke up, only to find out weeks later that Jamie was pregnant with Bob’s child. Over their parents’ objections, they tried to smooth over their differences by getting married soon after graduation. After two years of marriage, the couple divorced when it became clear they weren’t compatible in the long run.
While Bob and Jamie fought over a number of issues while they were married, the divorce was amicable as both loved their daughter. Jamie knew Bob would try hard to help care for their child, but she also knew he was struggling to make ends meet with his new job. Jamie decided she could accept reduced child support payments to help Bob get established. She also knew that Bob’s child support payments could be increased later as his financial situation improved.